The town of Croydon is very much the story of a boom and bust town. In 1929, over a hundred people called Croydon home. By the 1940’s, the population had dwindled to about sixty people and housed a post office, school and section crew on the south side of the river. The two room school on the North side of the Fraser River remained operational until the late 1950’s. While travel across the river was manageable in the depths of winter and in the warm summer, in early spring and winter, crossing the river was far too treacherous, hence the need for a school on both sides of the river.
Roads in Croydon were very rudimentary , and were often just a trail between stumps that were difficult enough to get a team and wagon through in summer, but impassable in the winter. As there was no ploughing in those days, students would have to walk in the snow to get to school. Those students living on the south side of the river, would walk to the tracks, then follow the tracks only getting off when they were as close to the school as possible.
When the North and South Croydon schools closed, the remaining students were bussed to Dunster School for elementary and into McBride for high school.
The post office and store were located in Jessie Barnett’s home. She would meet the train as it came in with her outgoing mail bag and collect the new mail. Residents would often wait with her at the station for the mail to come in. As there were at this point no telephones, if the train was late, the only option was to wait for it. This sometimes resulted in Jessie sorting the mail quite late at night. When the train finally came in, residents would trudge with Jessie the quarter of a mile to her house so that she could sort the mail and then pass it out to them. When Jessie retired in 1968, she was not replaced and the remaining residents of Croydon had to travel to the Dunster General Store to get their mail.
The train station at Croydon should look familiar as it is the same design that was placed approximately every 7-10 miles along the track by the Grand Trunk Pacific when they built the line at the beginning of the century. Although no longer in existence, the Croydon station, like the Dunster Station, contained living quarters for the section foreman (and his family), a room for freight and express, and a waiting room.
Today the Store, post office and school are privately owned and used as a residence. They are NOT open for public viewing.
Top: Croydon School, June 1935. L to R: Mona Campbell, Ada Davidson, Talitha Doran, Flora Campbell, Morris Long, Ward Langstaff, Jim Langstaff. Seated: Phillip Godfrey, Alice Mackenzie, teacher Miss Violet Flick, Vern Langstaff. Talitha Rosin Collection.
Middle: Jessie Barnett, postmistress at Croydon for almost 42 years in front of the post office just before it closed in 1968.Barnett Collection.
Bottom: Croydon Station, 1942. Talitha Rosin Collection.